Kay Hughes arrived at the property jamboree for the first time with trepidation. But she found its dinosaur reputation is no longer fully justified
Arriving at Mipim is like being transported to a huge white-tented, pamphlet-strewn city marathon but with a sea of mostly suited men. So at security, when the underwire on my bra set the alarm off, it occurred to me that some recalibration was required.
I started by heading to the familiar territory of the London stand where the impressive, ever-growing London model is surrounded by booths representing London boroughs, developers, architects and project managers. Once I had orientated myself within this massive alien trade show, I could see that the talks and renewing of past contacts are the focal point and catalyst for discussion.
Despite the general lack of international gender balance, the UK did well, with 40% women speakers on the London stand facilitated, in the words of Catherine Staniland, by the NLA seeking out professional, informed women in the industry. The UK government pavilion and Belfast were also relatively well balanced, but perhaps the Midlands could do with a push, or at least that’s how it looked when I popped into their stand.
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